Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Did You Win the Nigerian Lottery?

The holidays are behind us now, with their massive amounts of online spending. I remember hearing someone joke that Black Friday and Cyber Monday were followed by Identity-Theft Tuesday. Well, in a way, they were right. But according to this article every day is "Identity Theft Day" in the underworld of the internet. Nefarious nere-do-wells can buy a person's credit information for reasonably cheap (I can just hear it now: "what do you mean MY credit information was only worth $500!")

While some retailers are utilizing ways to combat this, making sure your IP address and credit card number are from the same region of the US, etc. But what about you? What can you do, to proactively take responsibility for your rear end? Well, first off, don't respond to phishing emails (Go ahead, roll your eyes, but apparently some people really do believe they won the Nigerian lottery.) After that, just be aware. Look at the website you're going to make a transaction with. Does it say "https://....." (emphasis on the "S") in the checkout address bar? Is there a little padlock on the bottom right side of your window? Does something just not "feel right" about the website? If the answer to any of these three is "no" then don't do business with them. Find what you need elsewhere, it is the interwebz after all.

*At least I'm not beating the "secure password" drum again, right? But you do need one, you know.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is It Photoshopped?

We've all seen the photoshopped photos, emailed by people claiming "Look at what my aunt's cousin's baby sister's neighbor's pool boy's grandma saw in her photo!" We know, and can easily determine that "the face of Saint Aurelia of Austria she saw in the clouds above Cincinnati" is actually Lady GaGa's face photoshopped over someone's Cincinnati postcard. But what about the good Photoshop jobs? Like, maybe, photos that are used as evidence in court cases? Well, scientist Hany Farid has figured out a way to look for signatures, much like ballistic forensics, in photographs. He says that he is able to tell what camera make/model took the photo by looking for these signatures. If the signatures are altered, then photo editing software has been used on it. It does not, unfortunately, show where or how the photo has been changed.

This allows new verification to a photo's authenticity, useful of course for legal things, court cases and such, but also to photographers and photo purists. Just think: we can finally know if there are legitimate photos of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster,and UFO's!

Monday, January 3, 2011

We told you so. Again.

We told you so back Here
Now, go read this article

For the love of Pete, employers need to get a social media policy for your business. Don't just make one up, either, but make sure it will hold up according to the law. Yeah, that will cost a little bit of money. But better that, than learning things the hard way, in a lawsuit.
If you are an employee who utilizes social media, then be sure of what your company's policy is. Is it wise for you to mix business and pleasure—ie, are your coworkers or clients your friends or followers? Can you even mention who you work for? What about mentioning coworkers or projects? Find these things out before you potentially find yourself in a lawsuit.